Seventeen weeks ago, if you told me that the Vikings and Cowboys would post sub-.500 records and not even sniff the playoffs, while the sub-.500 Seattle Seahawks would be a division champion and the 11-5 Bears would be a No. 2 NFC seed to a high-powered Atlanta Falcons team, I would probably tell you to either give up on your sports writing dreams or sign yourself up for sports rehab.
OK, I goofed up. I'll admit. In the preseason, I had a Jets-Cowboys Super Bowl (could still be half true!), and a Cowboys-Vikings, Jets-Ravens NFC-AFC Championship respectively (still could be true on the AFC side).
That's just the NFL, I suppose.
In a year when 7-9 was good enough to win the NFC West (C'mon, 7-9?! Seriously?! By the way, I had the 49ers winning the division at 10-6), and the Patriots looked again like the Patriots of 2001 to 2007, it's no surprise that anything can happen in the NFL Playoffs.
At this point, I expect something crazy to happen.
I expect madness. I expect hysteria. I expect one of those we-never-saw-it-coming Super Bowls.
So as the Saints prepare to defend their title, the Patriots look for four championships this century, the Packers look to run the tables after going from being out of the playoffs in Week 15 to the No. 6 seed in Week 17, and the Seahawks look to shock the world. It's time to try and predict the 2011 NFL Playoffs.
Even though I'm probably 100% wrong on everything I'm about to say.